Timid GSP

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Andreww
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Timid GSP

Post by Andreww » Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:52 am

Hi all,
My girl is just over 2 years old. We have had her interacting with other dogs at dog parks etc since she was about 12 weeks old. I would say from about 8-10 months old she showed signs of being a bit submissive and timid. But for the most part with dogs she knew, she was a typical crazy pointer. I didnt really worry too much. 6 months ago we had our 1st child. Naturally the attention hasnt been on her. In addition, she went from dog park 3-4 times per week and walks everday, to about 1-2 times a week with walks id say every second day. In the last 3 months she has really been quite scared at dog parks, particularly the bigger dogs. She has started lunging/shrieking at certain dogs out of fear, today she was quite hysterical with one particular dog who wasnt doing anything wrong. Again, this lunging and shrieking. She was so terrified that I had to leave. I dont ever recall an incident that occurred that would lead to this. Whats going on and how should I go about getting her groove back?

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DonF
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by DonF » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:04 am

I would say you have a rare bird dog, timid to a fault! Have you ever shot around the dog? I suspect it will be what we tend to call gun shy without you doing anything to cause it. Simply timid to a fault. It happens just not very often.

I should have mentioned, you have a good idea where this problem shows up, avoid those situation's.

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Re: Timid GSP

Post by shags » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:45 am

Lunging and shrieking towards that other dog, or away from it? Away would indicate fear; toward would be aggression. Different response from you on either.

I'd start by getting your own groove back as far as walking her every day even for short times. Work and a new baby can make things chaotic at home, but maybe you guys can put the baby in a stroller and walk the dog and all of you can get out for some fresh air. Or if you have a yard, get out and play a little fetch with your pup just to expend some energy and do a little casual training.

Skip the dog park unless you can go at times when no one else is there. If your dog is not stable, you don't want to be responsible for an incident with someone and/or their dog.

The thing NOT to do is baby her, don't go all "It's all right sweetie" and be petting and reassuring her. Better to reassure with your calm leader presence. Read the dog and try to head off any hysterics by having her sit or whoa (whatever you use to have the be still and quiet). In your case on walks, you can distract her by doing a 180 away from her target, and make her heel smartly with you, no looking back and barking or whining.

At my vet's office, we use one of the calming sprays for cats and it seems to work pretty well. We haven't used the ones made for dogs but it might be something you can try. The idea would be to relax her in ever-expanding environments over time.

You have your work cut out for you. Best of luck, and congrats on the new kiddo.

Steve007
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Steve007 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:23 am

At the risk of suggesting something that may cause you some money, I’d contact my vet just to rule out the possibility of a physical problem. It's not impossible that something from thyroid deficiency to brain difficulties could be causing this. Looking for a behavioral or training solution certainly makes sense, but will serve no purpose if it's physical.

What you rule that out, you can start looking at solutions. I'd suggest serious obedience work -- not junk bird dog stuff, but real obedience with a club or trainer-- would be a good idea to give your dog confidence and you control. But first step would be looking for a physical problem which can definitely affect mental stability.

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Sharon
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Sharon » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:16 pm

Welcome to the forum.

I hate to be the negative one but .... based on my 60 years of dog experience, at 3 months the dog is showing who it is. Easy to see there has been only a good upbringing for this dog from you - no abuse of any kind - so it is all in the breeding. I had 2 similar dogs - one GSP and one JRT. Never could go to the dog park , muzzle at the vet, etc....

You've received excellent advice on what to do to try and improve this situation. Please let us know how it goes.
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Andreww
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Andreww » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:17 pm

Thanks all. The lunging/shrieking seems to occur with certain dogs but becoming more frequent. Its definatley fear as she does it as shes retreating and then hides behind me. As far as the training tips, ill definatley implement those and reintroduce Eddie slowly, and with dogs shes already mates with. As well as some advanced training. If no sounds of improvement ill reach out to our vet. This is my 3rd pointer, 1st was somewhat boisterous, the 2nd cool as a cucumber and Eddie has been something different. Shes just a family pet so not hunting with her. Ill let you know how things progress

Steve007
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Steve007 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:33 pm

Andreww wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:17 pm
Thanks all. The lunging/shrieking seems to occur with certain dogs but becoming more frequent. Its definatley fear as she does it as shes retreating and then hides behind me. As far as the training tips, ill definatley implement those and reintroduce Eddie slowly, and with dogs shes already mates with. As well as some advanced training. If no sounds of improvement ill reach out to our vet.
Wrong order. Training will serve no purpose other than to frustrate both of you and not being very nice to your dog if there's a health problem. See vet first. Note, as an example, information below from a link regarding hypothyroidism. I'm a big fan of serious (does not mean harsh) daily obedience work as a solution for many behavioral problems. However, where you've got a significant change in personality or response to stimuli that you can't attribute to trauma, ruling out physical problems is your first step.

2. BEHAVIOR CHANGES: ANXIETY, COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR, OR AGGRESSION
These symptoms can be tricky. When a dog’s behavior changes out of the blue, it’s a clear indication that something may be wrong with them.

Look for things like unprovoked or atypical aggression toward other dogs or people. Conversely, you might also look for an unusually passive or submissive behavior. Extremes on either side of the spectrum can be a sign that something is wrong.

Episodes of anxiety and nervousness can also be an indication.

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Re: Timid GSP

Post by shags » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:34 am

OP, Steve brings up an excellent point. Have your dog checked out for thyroid problems. Insist that your vet run a COMPLETE thyroid panel to include antibodies, NOT just TSH and T4.

Here is an article by Dr. Jean Dodds, an expert in thyroid disfunction. The 7th paragraph onward might strike a cord with you. Don't mind the title of the link, it's all about thyroid.

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-ang ... havior.htm

Andreww
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Andreww » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:32 am

Very interesting reading. Thanks Steve and shags. Ill contact my local vet and go from there. Some of the patterns they discuss certainly ring true for us. Ill let you know the outcome. Cheers

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Sharon
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Re: Timid GSP

Post by Sharon » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:27 pm

Ignore what I said before. :oops: Misread how old your dog is now. Sorry. Go with the excellent advice you have been given.
" We are more than our gender, skin color, class, sexuality or age; we are unlimited potential, and can not be defined by one label." quote

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Re: Timid GSP

Post by JONOV » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:11 am

I think you start with the lowest hanging fruit and work from there.

The baby is going to make extended walks hard, but have you thought about roading her on a bike? A 20 minute bike ride to take the edge off might do her some good.

From there some more obedience stuff where she's more focused on doing what you want.

From there, the vet and/or a behaviorist.

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